Friday, October 22, 2010

Alice Costume (from “Alice: Madness Returns” Game)

I just completed sewing the Alice costume I need for various events:

  • I’m Alice in Orycon’s Opening Ceremonies skit “Alice in Oryconland”
  • I’m Alice at the Greater Portland Area Costumer’s Guild Orycon Party where the theme is “Alice in Slumberland”
  • Halloween

I chose to do the Alice from the “Alice: Madness Returns” game because I had sufficient leftover fabric in appropriate colors to make it. (we will NOT discuss the size of my stash. The fabric reproduces on its own – REALLY).

Front and Back Pictures. I digitized and embroidered the symbols on the apron. The skull was a $1.19 decoration I found at a grocery store.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Win2K Book Purse

Given that I have advertised myself as both a SQL Server person and a seamstress, I think it’s about time that I show the project I most recently completed.
 SAM_0208This purse was made using scrap upholstery fabrics and the cover of “Inside Microsoft Windows 2000, Third Edition,” which has served its purpose and is now destined to live its second life as a purse.
The idea of making a purse from a book is not my original idea – I met a lady at an American Sewing Guild (ASG) meeting who had one. The instructions for making your own book purse can quickly be found using a simple web search, so I won’t bother looking up the link.
The main changes I made to the “standard” version of theSAM_0203 purse are:
  • I didn’t measure anything with a ruler – I simply wrapped the fabric around the book pages and pinned it to fit, then sewed it together
  • The clasp is one of those turn-buckle clasps that you attach by putting a hole through the book cover where you want it to be.
  • The strap leading to the clasp and the outer side gussets were made from leftover raincoat fabric.
  • I glued it together using Aleene’s Tacky Glue (craft glue), stuffed the soon to be discarded pages inside, placed it on the floor and covered it with a large tote bag full of books (I think the full tote bag weighs about 40 pounds) while waiting for the glue to dry.
I plan to bring this to SQL PASS Summit. It may become a door prize for one of the WIT presentations if they decide that it’s “worthy”.
* Note: I will leave the CD from the book inside the purse as a “bonus gift”. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

SQL Pass Chalk Talk

In Mid-November, I’ll be debuting at my first professional presentation at the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle, WA. During the last SQL PASS  Women In Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter meeting (we meet monthly via telephone), Meredith Ryan-Smith asked for volunteers to be panelists with her at the Chalk Talk she would be leading. I volunteered hoping that I would have some useful tidbits to contribute to the 40-minute session entitled "Energizing the Next Generation: Encouraging and Inspiring Young Women to Choose Tech Careers,”  which is scheduled for Noon on Tuesday 9 November.

If you look at the statistics from recent years, fewer women are choosing technical careers than ever before. We’re hoping that through this Chalk Talk, we can steer more women toward choosing technical careers.

As the date of the SQL PASS Summit approaches, I’ll be posting some of my thoughts on this topic, so stay tuned!

Lady Runa dressed as Ada Lovelace

Lady Runa dressed as Ada Lovelace, a lovely lady who was also one of the first computer programmers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Working from Home Two Days a Week

A big huzzah to my company. In the interest of being green, saving the planet, or making employees happy, Management has decided that they will allow all employees to sign up to work from home up to two days a week. They even let us pick the days – since traffic is worst at the end of the week, I picked Thursdays and Fridays. Of course when picking those days I completely forgot that everything is craziest on those two days, so I wind up working during the time I would normally have spent commuting.
There are several advantages of working from home:
  • When work time starts you instantly beam from home to “work'”
  • When work time is over *poof* you’re home.
  • If you forget something on the kitchen table, it’s a quick dash across the house to get it.
  • Lunch can be something NOT cold and NOT microwaved
  • You can catch up on undone housework at lunchtime
  • Your second monitor can be a 43” television – perfect for those WebEx conferences
  • All calls can be on speakerphone so you don’t hurt your neck holding the phone to your ear
  • You can finish getting dressed while the computer boots up and logs onto the company network
  • The dress code is whatever you feel like putting on
  • If someone wants to talk to you, they have to call – which means you only have to listen to one conversation at a time.
  • You know exactly whose germs are on the things in the bathroom and in the kitchen.
  • No one hovers near your desk expecting you to pause what you’re doing to answer their “quick question” (which always turns into an hour long discussion and a major issue)
  • Lunchtime goat therapy sessions
  • Since your wireless is “in range” all over your property, you can work outside when the weather is nice
  • Nobody can accidentally take your lunch
  • The microwave doesn’t contain “mystery splatters”
  • The fridge is NOT scary
  • You can sleep minutes longer in the morning
  • You don't have to waste a vacation day sitting at home awaiting the repair man - you can work while your house is being fixed.
Unfortunately, working from home is not all fun and happiness. There are some disadvantages, too:
  • EVERYONE is constantly IM’ing you and they get mad when you don’t respond instantly (because you’re answering someone else’s questions at the moment or are on the phone or lost that window under the ten other IM conversations you currently have going)
  • They get mad that they can’t talk to you because you’re already on phone with someone else
  • Undone housework haunts you – you see and sometimes smell the mess that you should’ve cleaned earlier
  • If you want to talk to someone you can’t just hover near their cubicle door until they notice you – when telecommuting, you have to call them and hope they aren’t screening your calls
  • You always have to make the coffee
  • If you spill something on the floor, you actually have to clean it up yourself rather than “let the janitor do it”.
  • Bird droppings on the keyboard when working outside under a tree (note to self: ALWAYS check what is above you before sitting down outside)
  • People call you outside of work hours asking you to “do a few little things” since you can easily connect to the office
  • The VPN connection times out in the middle of meetings or the internet has a hiccup when you’re helping a customer
  • Your spouse expects that you’ll have time to run errands, shop for food, and prepare dinner in all your “spare” time because you aren’t driving a half hour each way
  • Collaboration among people is a bit more challenging since every group gathering requires a conference call
All in all, I think the advantages of telecommuting outweigh the disadvantages. I don’t think I’ll give it up just yet. Anyone have other commentary on telecommuting?

Power BI: M Query Basics (Part 2)

This is the second part of my series on Power BI M Query Basics. In Part 1 , I defined M Query and talked about the structure of how an M Qu...